Is the customer experience always this bad?

Former Member
Former Member

Hi,

I think this is probably my first time in many years that I've needed to vent.

After many years a Fitbit user I switched to a Garmin Vivosmart 4 last wednesday and threw my Fitibit in the cupboard of discarded tech. I don't have a lot of spare cash so spent a fair bit of time researching. I really liked the form factor of the vivosmart 4 as I'm ideally looking for something that can be worn alongside a traditional watch. Also I was looking at Apple Health integration as I have other apps that would consume data from the Vivosmart. Garmin clearly indicated Apple Health is supported and they also list the categories produced via Garmin Connect on the iPhone that are published to Apple Health.

Unboxing and initial setup was easy and Garmin connect looks pretty and provides logical layout and decent data. Minor issues were soon spotted, such as Weather temperature refusing to accept centigrade. I'm in the UK. Even choosing the strangely named "UK statute" options did not solve the problem. No big deal as I don't need to weather widget so just removed it.

I enabled the much anticipated Apple Health integration. Unfortunately it's a bit limited and only consists of "write" operations into Apple Health. I simple "read" operation of weight would be really so simple and useful and could read my weight update via my Withings Body+ scale that writes weight into Apple Health on each weigh in. However, I can probably live without that too and manually update from time to time.

It soon came to light that the data written into Apple health is insane. My food tracker app was under the impression I'd used 50,000+ kcals of energy in an 18 hour period. It had read the data that Garmin connect had written into Apple health and was reading the cumulative total for "Active Energy" which was  50,000+ kcals. Garmin clearly is writing the actual total since midnight over and over and summing those totals instead summing the deltas between each write, which would mean the day ending in "active energy" usage of maybe 1000 kcal instead of 50 times that amount. I've checked on support tickets and forum entries for Apple health integration and it almost seems as though Garmin are in denial the issue is them. Apple health bugs have been reported to Garmin for years. Apple Health integrations was key to me choosing the Garmin.

However, what has really pushed me to the point of returning the device is the sync issues. All weekend the device has just about managed to sync calories, steps and heart rate but sleep, body and exercises simply will not syncing. I've deleted the device in Garmin connect three times and it seems to work for a while and then fails to sync again. I've deleted per Garmin instructions, removed bluetooth connection etc. I've gone the distance and done a full reset on the Vivosmart and deleted the GC app on the phone and rebooted it for good measure.

This must work I thought to myself. I reinstalled the GC app, the Vivosmart was clearly as new. I ran the connection sequence, GC detected the Vivosmart and then went through the usual series of questions, do I want Pulse OX etc. During this series of questions it must sync the replies to Garmin servers as it sat there for a while and a big error message appeared saying cannot connect to Garmin Servers. In usual Garmin style his is clearly nothing to do with Garmin servers and is clearly either the customers wifi, phone connection or oddly enough the permissions of GC itself. It would seem odd that my phone has no issues browsing the web, installing apps or just about anything else but it selective does not want to communicate with Garmin servers to complete the setup. I did find a webpage for Garmin server status that clearly indicates that unsurprisingly nothing is wrong on planet Garmin with the services. What was suprising was that a quick search on Twitter indicates the server connection/sync issues I've experienced do go back years and there's many customers just like me scratching their heads how bad it can be. It probably would be a masterpiece of understatement to say the Garmin suffer quality control issues with regard to software. The hardware actually looks pretty decent.

I appreciate I could speak to support but having worked in IT for 20 years I've experience enough to read through previous threads and support tickets to try all the various resets. I simply don't expect to spend hours messing with the device or calling support to report issues that should be picked up by testing. Fortunately the retail store where I purchased the device provide 14 days no quibble full refund. I'm close to throwing in the towel and getting my money back. A big concern is that issues I'm experiencing today are easy to find from 4 years ago and still are nto resolved. Is it always this bad?

BTW. I'm using latest firmware and software. I installed the Mac connect express client and it will sync the vivosmart when it's  physically plugged into my Mac USB. Reality is though that it's 2020. The days of physically plugging devices into a computer for purposes of syncing went out with the Palm Pilot IMHO.